Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Ever thine, ever mine, ever us.

Beethoven to his 'Immortal Beloved' - and the source of our title, EVER US, for the new work that Roxanna Panufnik is writing for the Rundfunkchor Berlin and nine visiting choirs from all over the world, from Lebanon to the US to South Africa, to be premiered on 1 May 2020 in the great Berlin Philharmonie itself.

I have fashioned the libretto for this work out of Beethoven's own writings and those of the authors he loved, among them Goethe, Schiller, Kant, Tiedge and Sturm - and we follow him through his love of nature, his passion for liberty, deep despair, hopeless love and eventual transcendence. After it, we hear the finale of his Ninth Symphony (no pressure, then...).

This concert brings representatives from many corners of the globe together to celebrate our unity in humanity. We are...ever us. Ever together. Ever thine, ever mine, ever us.

When you see British representatives of the "Brexit Party" in the EU parliament physically turning their backs on the Ode to Joy, it is not in our name and represents us in no way. People declare themselves embarrassed by this heinous incident. I don't think 'embarrassed' is a strong enough word. It is more accurate to say we are revolted, furious, and determined to counter it in every way we can.

"When will there come a day when there are only people?" Beethoven wrote to a friend who was travelling to Russia, where the composer knew he would be depressed by the desperate social divisions he saw. "Only people": not nobles and serfs. "Only people": undivided. Today we must stand together against the perversion of our homeland by the Brexiter wreckers.

We are... Ever together. Ever thine, ever mine, ever us.